Never Growing Up

That’s I Don’t Wanna Grow Up by Tom Waits.

I’m sick right now. Nothing really serious. Just a flu. However, since I hardly ever get sick, I do tend to overreact. Rationally I know I’ve lived a fairly charmed life as I’ve seen people around me face various problems while I’ve just skated through life. Yes, I have worked for what I have, but for example, someone I used to be very close to had to fight breast cancer. My little flu doesn’t quite compare.

Still, my stupid brain wants to feel sorry for itself and insists that the whole world is against me in some way, just because not everything is as comfortable right now as it is usually.

Anyhow, all this got me thinking about the sick days of my childhood for some reason. I’m 40, so we’re talking 80s here. While lying sick in bed in those days, I used to read. You know, books. Words on paper. THousands and thousands of those little black smudges printed on a white surface. Now? I just put on some crap from YouTube.

How much have I actually changed? Sure, I have a career and some money put aside and I’m fairly independent and free economically (I’ve paid my mortgage a few years back), but last week I was in Germany, looking into their local hiking and cycling opportunities. It was for work, but doesn’t mean it couldn’t be fun. Anyhow, I had an opportunity to try out an eBike for the first time in my life. What’s my first thought after getting going with it? Can I drive this without hands? Obviously. Well, the rational side of my brain stopped me from doing it, because the kick the motor gives you for assistance is at times pretty surprising, so I didn’t feel comfortable doing it.

On the other hand, there was a pretty long downhill at one point. The kind we don’t get in the Ice Age flattened Finland. So, I had to try out how fast I could go. That would be 48.6km/h. From a security point of view, that was pretty stupid, especially since at the bottom of the hill, it wasn’t as straight as one would hope, but it just wasn’t that visible from the top. So, I actually probably came closer to death than I would want to at the foot of the hill, when there was a little too sharp of a turn and I had to take an “alternative route” through the car lane in order not to drive into a ditch at way too high speed. Lucky me there wasn’t a car on the road at the time.

Anyhow, although it does risk my life at times, I’m in many ways glad I’ve managed to keep a certain childlike curiosity about the world. For most people, experiences saturate. If you live up to be 90, you have likely experienced half of the things you will experience during your lifetime at around 27 years. Has that happened to me? Maybe, but I’m also actively working on not letting that happen. I started travelling more and to new places after turning 30, so that’s something that has given me new experiences. I’ve also tried to find new challenges in my work, which, as a teacher in higher education, is pretty easy.

Where I’m I going here? I don’t really know. Maybe I shouldn’t write while I have a fever, but these are the kinds of things I think about while laying there, feeling cold.

I guess where I could go with this is about paving your own way. I haven’t really ever followed the usual model I was “supposed” to. I haven’t settled down, neither do I want to. I don’t own a car, even though many of my generation still think it’s important to have one. And so forth.

Should everyone do this? Probably not. There must be a reason for that model of a nuclear family with 2.4 kids, two cards and a dog. The world does need rogues, though. As the world changes, that nuclear family might become obsolete and in that case there needs to be other models as well. So, if you don’t feel comfortable trying to achieve the goals in life your parents set themselves, free feel to do something else.

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